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8.6.08

À mon chevet: The Rest Is Noise

Oliver Sacks, MusicophiliaÀ mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment.

At 11:00 a.m. on the same day, a squad of jeeps came up the drive [of Richard Strauss's home], these led by Major John Kramers, of the 103rd Infantry Division's military-government branch. Kramers told the family that they had fifteen minutes to evacuate. Strauss walked out to the major's jeep, holding documents that declared him to be an honorary citizen of Morgantown, West Virginia, together with part of the manuscript of Rosenkavalier. "I am Richard Strauss, the composer," he said. Kramer's face lit up; he was a Strauss fan. An "Off Limits" sign was placed on the lawn.

In the days that followed, Strauss posed for photographs, played the Rosenkavalier waltzes on the piano, and smiled bemusedly as soldiers inspected his statue of Beethoven and asked who it was. "If they ask one more time," he muttered, "I'm telling them it's Hitler's father."

-- Alex Ross The Rest Is Noise (2007), "Zero Hour," pp. 343-44
The nightstand at the moment is in Italy, for one more night in Rome. Normal routine will follow soon. Ciao tutti!

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